Top 5 Benefits of Owning a Dog During Retirement
Retirement is a time to relax and enjoy the fruits of your labor, and what better way to do that than with a furry companion by your side? Dogs can provide plenty of benefits for seniors during retirement, including physical and mental health benefits, a sense of purpose, and routine — not to mention unconditional love and support.
Whether you are an active senior looking for a walking buddy or a retiree wanting some companionship at home, a dog can be the perfect addition to your retirement years. Below, we’ll go over some of the benefits of becoming a dog-owner during your golden years.
1. Maintaining Exercise
Dogs need exercise and so do seniors! It’s an important part of life. Owning a dog during retirement can be a great way to stay active. If you find it hard to motivate yourself to go for a walk, having a furry friend to join you can be just the motivation you need.
In fact, a study found that dog owners walk about an hour more per day than those without a dog. Not only will you be getting some exercise, but you’ll also be helping to keep your dog healthy. It’s a win-win!
2. Keeping Your Routine
As a senior, it can be easy to fall into a run and lose a sense of purpose. That’s where having a dog can really make a difference. While owning a pet does require some effort, it’s not too demanding. And the best prat is that caring for a dog can give you a sense of structure and routine in your daily life.
Trust us, there will be days when you don’t feel like getting out of bed but having to take the dog out for a walk or feed them breakfast will give you a reason to get up and start your day. So not only will your four-legged friend bring joy to your life, but they can also help you keep a healthy routine.
3. A Dog Is Man’s Best Friend for a Reason
A dog makes for the perfect companion. They’ve been ‘man’s best friend’ for over 18,000 years. Dogs love to be close to their human counterparts — scientists call it “proximity seeking.” That’s why they’re always trying to snuggle on your lap, cuddle next to you on the couch, or just chill at your feet.
And let’s not forget about their amazing ability to pick up on (and respond) to human signals. Not to mention, they can also be trained to do all sorts of cool tricks, like fetching your slippers or picking up any dropped items.
4. Pets Keep You Social
Dogs not only make for amazing companions, but they can also bring people together. Have you ever taken a friendly dog for a walk through your neighborhood? They’re like natural ice breakers. And the best part? There’s actually research to back this up. In one study, it was found that walking a dog was the third most common way people met their neighbors in a new neighborhood.
Plus, dog owners were 60% more likely to meet new people in their neighborhood compared to non-dog owners. So not only do dogs bring love and companionship into your life, but they can also make new friends. Pretty cool, huh?
5. They Add More Love to the Home
This is definitely one of our favorite reasons for why seniors should get a dog. We’ve already talked about the power of companionship that dogs bring, but they also bring so much love and happiness where they go. In fact, there’s science to back this up — having a dog can actually release ‘happy’ hormones like oxytocin. And let’s not forget about the unconditional love that dogs offer.
It’s seriously amazing and they can do wonders for you and families, helping you feel more confident, motivated, and all sorts of other good things. So if you’re trying to figure out how to add a little more love and happiness to your life, adopting a furry friend might be the way to go.
Before You Get a Dog – Consider This
Here are a few things to consider when thinking about what breed of dog to get and what your pet will need from you:
- The size of your house and yard – If you have a large house and yard, you may want to consider getting a large & energetic dog to fully utilize the space. On the other hand, if you have a smaller house, you may want to consider getting a smaller dog to better fit the space.
- The dog’s exercise needs – It’s important to understand the needs of the breed of dog you’d like to buy/adopt – make sure you are able to keep up and give them the daily exercise they require. Be sure to pick a breed that matches your own lifestyle.
- Shedding and grooming – Depending on your breed, you might need to set up a lint-roller budget. When choosing your furry friend, you must think about a dog’s coat maintenance – a lot of breeds are easy to maintain when it comes to grooming and will only need a brush once per week to keep their coats and skin in tip top condition. However, some breeds will need professional grooming 3-4 times a year though and this can considerably raise the cost of keeping a dog.
- Patience levels – When choosing a dog breed, it’s important to consider your own patience and the amount of time you’re willing to dedicate to training. Some breeds may be quicker to learn and train, while others may take longer. It’s also important to note that just because a breed is highly intelligent doesn’t necessarily mean they are easy to live with. Some dogs require a lot of exercise and mental stimulation, so be sure to consider whether you have the time and patience to meet these needs if you are considering a breed with high energy and mental stimulation needs.
- Cost – When you add a puppy or a dog to the family, it’s important to consider the ongoing costs of caring for your four-legged companion. Things like the cost of specialized food appropriate for your dog’s breed and life stage, vaccinations, spaying/neutering, collars/leashes, and veterinary bills. All of these should be factored into your decision to becoming a dog owner.
For most people, the golden years of retirement come after decades of hard work.
If you're looking for more information on having a great retirement, we’ve laid out a complete guide to help you pick your perfect retirement community.